In the near future, ads may appear in PC and console games: Bloomberg reported that Sony has been working on its own system for displaying ads in free-to-play games for 18 months already. Microsoft is also seeking ad tech partners, and back in 2006, Microsoft acquired game advertising company Massive Inc. (although it closed in 2010) to advertise in several games on Xbox consoles.

Interest in advertising in the industry is growing, but consumers are not responding positively. Games have a long history of ads from the start, but the reintroduction of ads into free games should be treated with caution or risk alienating consumers. A Reddit thread on the popular forum r/Games with over 3,500 upvotes was full of negative responses to the news.

From the licensed games of the 80s to the lavish in-game Fortnite concerts, ads have been part of the gaming experience since the medium’s inception. But ads are still not built into the medium like they are on TV, and advertisers need to be mindful of players’ wishes for an unobtrusive experience.